Rajasthan, once called as ‘The Land of Kings’, is home to some of the most incredible forts and palaces in India. With so many rulers ruling the vast desert land and two millennia worth of history, Rajasthan has numerous forts spread across the state. Six forts were recently added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well. The forts of Rajasthan are not just about architecture but lets you explore different aspects of Rajasthan as a state, like its culture, the rich history and different traditions. Let us take you through some of the popular forts of Rajasthan that you will love to explore while travelling in the state.
Amber Fort, Jaipur : Amber Fort is one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan, built more than a thousand years ago. At first the residence of the Meenas of the area, it was taken over by the Rajputs or the Kachawas. Raja Kalki Devi built the Rajput structure in the complex in the year 1036. Over the years, the rulers built the various structures like temples and courtyards. The present day fort got its look in the 1600s under the reign of Maharaja Man Singh I when major buildings like Diwan-i-khas got its shape. The fort palace got more storeys once the royal family decided to expand their living area. One can divide the palace into 4 different parts or courtyards. From the top of the fort, tourists get some of the finest panoramic views of the city of Jaipur. Sheesha Mahal, Ganesha Pol Entrance and Baradari pavilion are some of the highlights of the Amber Fort.
Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur : Nahargarh Fort was once a third of the forts that lined overlooking the city of Jaipur, forming a strong defence mechanism to protect the city from foreign invasions. The fort sits beside the other two forts in the area, Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort. The popular belief says that the fort got its name because of the spirit of Nahar Singh Bhomia, a former Rajput royal, haunting the palace for years. Maharaja Jai Singh, a master war strategist built the fort along as a cover to other two forts and thus protect his state. The view you get from the top of Nahargarh fort is the best you can have of the city of Jaipur and it accounts for the majority of footfall. The Jaipur Wax Museum, opened in 2016, is another tourist attraction of the place.
Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur : Jaigarh Fort is the third fort in the outskirts of the city of Jaipur and sits atop a hill, CheelkaTeela, overlooking Amber Fort. A secret passageway connects Jaigarh Fort to the Amber Fort that the royals used during wars or attempted invasions by enemies. Jaivana, the biggest canon on wheels in the whole world, is one of the top tourist attractions. Laxmi Vilas, Vilas Mandir, Lalit Vilas and Aram Mandir are some of the major buildings in the complex. The impressive square garden Charbagh is another key attraction inside the palace. The fort has walls that spread over 3kms in length and has maximum fortifications. The museum has some of the best artefacts, weapons and paintings of that era. The fort got its water from a water catchment built near the fort in the middle of hills. It had a holding capacity of more than 6 million gallons of water.
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner : Junagarh Fort is one of the few forts in Rajasthan not built on a hilltop. The fort was the residence of the royal family of ‘Rathore’ until the early 20th century when they moved out of the fort city to a new palace. Maharaja Rao Bika, the second son of Maharaja Rao Jodha, laid the foundation stone of the fort in 1478 after he founded the city of Bikaner. However, the present day Fort got its shape much later, almost a hundred years later. The huge fort has innumerable royal palaces and temples in it with each of them a fine example of the Rajasthani architecture. The whole city of Bikaner was built around the fort with a 360-degree view of the city from the top of the fort. Junagarh Fort is definitely one of the popular forts of Rajasthan that you will love to explore
Taragarh Fort, Bundi : Taragarh Fort is one of the forgotten forts of Rajasthan with most of it lying in shambles. The fort, built on top a steep hill is one of the major attractions in the city Ajmer. King Ajaypal Chauhan built the fort in 1354 with three massive gates, namely Lakshmi Pol, PhutaDarwaza, Gagudiki Pathak. Most of the fort now has a cover of wild vegetation but still is a great place to visit in the city of Ajmer. The fort complex have some huge water reservoirs, which was once the main source of water for most people in the city during emergencies. Another feature of Taragarh Fort is that it has several passageways within the hill but now are not accessible due to the lack of useful maps. The fort was once part of the Mughal Empire when Dara Shikoh, the first son of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, captured it in 1633.
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